How Hotspot 2.0 is Changing the Way Customers Access Wi-Fi Networks

HS2 delivers faster speeds, greater reliability and enhanced security.

Hotspot 2.0, otherwise known as HS2 or Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, is a new approach to public access Wi-Fi that allows users to automatically connect to a network once they enter the hotspot area.

It also promises faster speeds, greater reliability, and enhanced security. HS2 is not a specific product or technology, but rather a combination of technologies and industry standards. It was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, a non-profit that promotes Wi-Fi technology and certifies Wi-Fi products.

Mobile phone companies are increasingly installing SIM-based Wi-Fi hotspots using HS2 technology to serve as an extension of their existing wireless networks. HS2 technology is allowing them to keep customers on their proprietary network as often as possible: The technology lets mobile network customers access Wi-Fi networks without having to consciously seek out the network and connect to it manually. This is helping to prevent customers from depleting their mobile data allotments; it also takes some strain off of telecom infrastructure and reduces capital costs associated with building or upgrading mobile network towers.

Traditionally, broadband service providers have been the ones installing Wi-Fi hotspots; but now mobile carriers are seeing value in building new Wi-Fi networks to enhance their existing mobile networks. This is significant because, with a network of Wi-Fi hotspots, mobile carriers could feasibly keep customers on their network at all times, increasing customer exposure to products and services (and targeted advertisements) offered by the carrier and its partners. But the large broadband providers like Comcast and Time Warner are fighting back: they are trying to extend their reach beyond their customers’ homes and workplaces by building a network of Wi-Fi hotspots with HS2 technology.

Business leaders should take heed: HS2 is poised to fuel strong growth in the Wi-Fi market by simplifying and securing wireless connections (using WPA2 encryption) and allowing users to seamlessly travel from one network to another with no additional effort. According to an IHS survey, one quarter of all service providers expect that by 2016, 26% of their Wi-Fi access points will be HS2-compliant. The driver for this growth in HS2 adoption is simple: it supports new revenue generation models for Wi-Fi service providers that have up to now struggled to generate strong returns. The fastest growing revenue models right now are tiered hotspots and Wi-Fi roaming charges.

To learn more about HS2 or how other emerging trends in Wi-Fi are changing business priorities, please refer to our new white paper: Hotspot 2.0, Gigabit Wi-Fi and Business Wi-Fi.

1 The Wi-Fi Alliance owns the Wi-Fi trademark, and allows manufacturers to display it on their products if they are certified by the Alliance.

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